As we approach the end of the year and the holiday season, it is important to make sure you understand the penalties for drinking and driving in New Jersey. Of course, many holiday celebrations include a signature cocktail and an endless amount of beer and wine. It is no surprise that the number of alcohol-related driving charges increases during these times.
Many use the terms DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence) interchangeably. In New Jersey, drunk driving statutes are listed under “driving while intoxicated,” or DWI.
New Jersey has harsh penalties for driving while intoxicated. For even a first offense, a fine of up to $400, a suspended license, imprisonment, motor vehicle surcharges, and completing hours at the “Intoxicated Driver Resource Center” could all be ordered by a judge.
What is aggravated DWI?
In some cases, a driver may face a charge of “aggravated DWI.” Certain factors—known as aggravating factors—make a DWI charge much more serious. An aggravated DWI charge has harsher penalties, even if it is the driver’s first DWI charge.
Examples of factors that could lead to an aggravated DWI charge include:
- The death or injury of a passenger or other victim
- A minor child was a passenger in the car
- A previous conviction for driving while intoxicated
- The driver refused to blow into the Breathalyzer
- A car accident occurred as a result of driving while intoxicated
- The driver was driving while intoxicated through a school crossing or was traveling in a school zone
- The driver also committed another traffic-related crime, such as speeding or reckless driving
- The driver’s blood alcohol concentration was in excess of 0.15%
The presence of any of these factors could lead to an aggravated DWI charge.
Do I need an attorney for an aggravated DWI charge?
The penalties for DWI in New Jersey are fairly rigid. However, this does not mean that charges are never reduced or dismissed. Improper stops, valid reasons for failing a field sobriety test, and a number of other defenses may arise during a DWI case. However, without the assistance of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney, you may not be aware of the possible defenses in your case. To ensure your legal rights are thoroughly protected, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible after you have been charged with aggravated DWI.
Call today to schedule a free consultation with our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys
At Lomurro Law, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys have represented clients in an array of DWI claims, including aggravated DWI charges. With our expertise, you will obtain the best results possible under New Jersey law. To schedule your free consultation with our firm, call 732-482-9285 or contact us online.